Tag: young genealogists

Faces of NextGen LIVE! Meet Christine Woodcock

The NextGen Genealogy Network’s Faces of NextGen LIVE! is a popular feature hosted by Education Coordinator Eric Wells. In this recorded interview, get to know Christine Woodcock!

Want to say hello to your fellow young genealogists during a fun and informal interview with Eric? Let us know at info@tnggn.org.

Don’t forget to bookmark our YouTube Channel to keep up with the latest on Faces of NextGen LIVE!



Meet your NextGen Leadership Team – Beth Wylie

Name: Beth Wylie      
A lady never reveals her true age…40 something…
: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

What is your role at The NextGen Genealogy Network? Secretary of the Leadership Team is my official title. I help out with graphic creation, promoting events on social media, anything that is asked.  We are great about supporting each other as we all do this voluntarily between the spaces of our busy lives.


How did you hear about NextGen? I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled upon it, but when I learned about the organization, I immediately emailed about coordinating a meet up! I was so excited to find kindred spirits in my general age group. Melanie Frick was the first person that reached out, and I am very thankful that she did! I wish this group had existed when I was in my 20’s. 


When did you first get interested in genealogy? My paternal grandmother was an amateur genealogist. I remember going to a Warner Brown family reunion in Union County, Arkansas when I was a small child, seeing all the boards with family photos.  I inherited her manila envelopes full of her Goode and Goodwin records. She was also a proud member of DAR, so in my early 30’s I joined through her line.  Additionally, I majored in history in college. Researching the past seems to have always been an important part of my life.


Do you have a specific area of expertise or interest? I don’t profess to be an expert in any particular area, but I do have a great deal of interest in Southern ancestry, migration patterns, etc. My roots are deeply Southern, for better or worse. Being Southern is a contradiction of emotions for me. I have explored these feelings some in my blog, lifeinthepastlane.org. Another area I have developed a recent interest in is oral history research. I hope to learn more about this in an upcoming webinar series with Baylor’s Institute of Oral History. People’s lives are what make family history so interesting. Knowing how to interview people, and capture their stories before they are lost, is something I think will make me a better genealogist.


What is your favorite type of genealogical record? Any record that has a family name on it?That’s such a difficult question to answer! Some ancestors don’t want to give up their secrets, so for them any record I can find is my favorite. Death certificates are a personal favorite as I am always curious to know how people died.  I love finding a lengthy obituary or book that may tell more about them as a person. I have paid a small fortune for a rare out of print book that had a whole section on my Garrison ancestors! Worth every penny.


If you could meet any ancestor, who would it be? I. Cannot. Pick. One. Peter Garrison, my 3rd great grandfather, because I know the most about him and feel like I know him. Prudence Patterson Hall, because she was supposedly a spy in a petticoat during the Revolution. My great grandmother Igou, because she got a divorce at a time when it was very rare and let her ex-husband and his family raise her first child. There’s a painful story there I want to know more about. I could go on…


Are you involved in any local societies/organizations? I am on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Genealogical Society. It has been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to increasing our younger membership.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new genealogist? Take your time. Whether learning the foundations of good research, or actually researching your own family. Take your time to make sure you have verified sources, dates, etc. And, if you hit a brick wall, step away, knowing it may not be a brick wall forever. A distant cousin once told me that our ancestors will reveal themselves when they want to be found. I have always tried to think of it that way when I reach a point I can’t go any further. Time and distance often give me a fresh perspective when I return to the search.


Do you plan on becoming a Certified or Accredited Genealogist in the future? When my children are a little older and more independent, I plan to complete the Boston University Certificate Program in Genealogical Research. 


Where can we find you online? (FB/Instagram/website/email etc) Facebook: Life in the Past Lane, Twitter @BGWylie, Blog: lifeinthepastlane.org


Faces of NextGen: Meet Amber Oldenburg

Amber Oldenburg, 39, Indiana

What five words would you use to describe yourself? The five words I would use to describe myself are; patient, enterprising, blessed, methodical, and motivated. 

 Why genealogy? Genealogy was an accident for me. My original intention at BYU-Idaho was to study towards becoming a park ranger, choosing Family History as a minor. I was immediately hooked on the subject. Very quickly I shifted my focus towards a degree in Family History with the goal of becoming a professional genealogist. Since my initial introduction to the subject, I have spent an inordinate amount of time researching and learning the ins and outs of the field. I feel truly blessed to have discovered my passion, one in which I very much hope to make a career.

 What are you working on this week? As classes do not resume until September (thank goodness), I’ve chosen to use this time to study in preparation for ICAPGen accreditation, occasionally stepping away to conduct research on the Thompson branch of my family tree.

 What’s the number one secret to your success in genealogy? I would have to say the number one secret to my success has been persistence in the face of some quite daunting challenges. Whether it’s running into a metaphorical brick wall while conducting research, or attempting to make heads or tails of difficult scripts, I keep moving forward until I achieve what I set out to do.

 What superpower would you want to help you uncover your family history? Undoubtedly, I’d have to go with time travel. To be able to personally speak with my ancestors, and to hear their story from their lips would be the absolute greatest gift I could receive.

 What are we most likely to find you doing when you’re not researching family history? When I am not working on researching family history, I can be found devouring every genealogy book available, or attending genealogy seminars and conferences. Aside from genealogy, I adore spending time with my wonderful husband and two brilliant daughters, very often camping or road tripping throughout the U.S.

The NextGen Genealogy Network is made up of young genealogists with diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Faces of NextGen showcases a different member of our community each month. If you would like to be considered for an upcoming feature, simply complete our questionnaire and submit a selfie.


Advocating for Diversity

Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of guest posts highlighting the ways in which intergenerational connections have inspired young genealogists. To learn more about how the NextGen Genealogy Network encourages young genealogists to build connections between all generations, see the NextGen Connection Challenge.

For some, joining a new community can be exhilarating – what could be more thrilling than an opportunity to interact and make new connections? For others, this question would only be uttered with heaps of sarcasm – could there be anything worse than interacting with strangers and making small talk? I happen to fall somewhere in between these two extremes – an introverted genealogist, who also enjoys learning from and teaching others. As a result, my first endeavor to join a genealogical society began with a mix of reluctance and anticipation.

My first meeting with the local genealogical society took place at the city library. The group was small and unassuming, and I was pleased (though not surprised) to discover that I was the youngest attendee. Because I have always held a deep reverence for my elders, and particularly enjoy listening to their recounts of the past, it was a reassuring setting. At the close of the meeting, I was asked to join the board. The invitation was a surprise, and a kind gesture that immediately made me feel welcome. In short, day one with my new community was a success.

Fast-forward 3 years. After many more meetings, a few frustrations, and a great deal of learning and growth: I have learned how better to collaborate with members of a different generation, have proposed technological solutions to problems (some met with excitement and others with bewilderment), and have learned research tips from experienced researchers.  It has been a fulfilling journey. However, I have also discovered what I feel is missing from my small genealogical community: diversity. Though I have learned to appreciate society members’ form of interacting and their passion for sharing family stories, I have also realized that our group is very homogeneous – a circumstance that inevitably moderates the depth and richness of our interactions.

At one point, I considered looking elsewhere for this diversity. I thought my time would be better spent working with a group already successful in diversifying its membership. And then I thought better of it – as a valued member of my society, I have an opportunity to propose a new direction for accomplishing our mission. I can leverage my newfound friendships to cultivate collaboration and innovation within and across generations. It’s an exciting prospect.

And with the lessons I have learned over the past 3 years, I believe I will be successful. I am looking forward to the challenge – and the inevitable outcome of increased diversity (of people and of thought) in our little society. Perhaps even this introvert can make a difference!

Lisa Medina is a devoted family historian with experience researching American and Mexican genealogy. She lovingly shares much of this research with her family – a husband of 8 years and a captivated 5-month old son. When not researching, Lisa is a busy University Registrar. She is also currently a Board member of the Escondido Genealogical Society.